Celebrating 40 years with the Banff Playwrights Colony


This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Banff Playwrights Colony and we thought it might be nice to share with you three film strips that help capture the colony’s legacy leading to the present. For more photos and writings from the archival collection swing by the Paul D. Fleck Libary & Archives and check out the current display celebrating the Banff Playwrights Colony.


Historical Photographs Collection (BCC.LA/PW.1976.3). Photo by Ron Adlington, July 1976.

In 1976, under program head Tom Hendry, the colony’s focus was workshopping and developing scripts in progress. Hendry’s inclusion of a group of resident actors as part of the collaborative process became a national model for other playwright colonies popping up across the country. Some of the program’s earliest participants included great Canadian playwrights Sharon Pollock and George Ryga.


Photographic Services [Technical Services] fonds (LA 1986.3). Photo by Monte Greenshields, May 25, 1986.

In 1986 John Murrell became head of the colony and refocused the colony’s mandate on the development of new plays and changed the application process to a nomination based process. The 1986 colony included Canadian playwrights who pushed the boundaries of Canadian theatre: Larry Fineberg, Paul Ledoux, and Colleen Wagner, to name a few.


This film strip was created using images captured during a reading of, “This is War” (in July 2012) and brought together in Photoshop by Photo Services.

Today the colony remains committed to offering playwrights a dynamic environment that gives playwrights the opportunity to experiment, collaborate, and take the necessary risks that generate plays to challenge and entertain audiences.


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